By: Bishop Scott Jones On 6/25/2012
Topics: Bishop's Columns & Blogs
It wasn’t until the fifth Star Wars movie—labeled Episode II—was released in 2002 that I realized there was an added dimension of evil in the Empire’s storm troopers. They were all clones. Identical copies of one human being manufactured at a secret base. They were all the same.
The added dimension of evil is the lack of diversity.
God created a world with millions of life forms, and even the human beings created in God’s own image are incredibly diverse. Humanity has different races, different sizes, different languages, different gifts, different abilities and different ways of thinking and feeling. God’s intention in creation is a wonderful diversity of life.
At the same time, it is God’s will that humanity be one in him.
Philippians 2:10-11 holds out the vision that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Jesus prayed in John 17 that all of his disciples would be one just as he and the Father are one.
This is rooted in the diversity of the Godhead.
We Christians are unique in proclaiming that the ultimate reality of the universe—the Supreme Being—the one in whom we live and move and have our being—is eternally one God in Three Persons. We proclaim in the Nicene Creed that the Son of God is “eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father.” We teach that the Holy Spirit “proceeds from the Father and the Son.” God is both a unity and a diverse community.
One of the best gifts that we, as United Methodists, can offer the world is to model our unity in Christ while embracing our diversity.
We are a global church as demonstrated by our recent General Conference. We are a body of people who come from different ethnic groups. We are young, old, rich, poor, middle class, American, Russian, Filipino, Zimbabwean and Swiss.
Our unity as a people is based on our discipleship. We are baptized, redeemed and committed followers of Jesus Christ.
We do not always agree on every issue, but we are united in the beliefs in our doctrinal statements, united in our mission to serve Christ by making disciples to transform the world and united in a covenant community with a common discipline.
Our world sees too much violent division. We see too much partisan, political bickering. We see too much disrespect for those who disagree with us. We see too much hatred, racism and sexism.
At our best, we United Methodists are practicing living together as a missional community, reaching out to those who are different and embracing them as brothers and sisters.
This is not always easy, and we do not always do it well.
However, our deepest commitments and our best selves always point to a unified, diverse body of sisters and brothers in the Lord.